Following a retreat from the peak prices of 2015/16, the classic Porsche market worked hard to regain some momentum and settle back into a groove through 2017/18. Auction results for the last twelve months show how few really rare Porsches came to market through 2018, as many sat on their collections awaiting a more optimistic picture.
The truth was that things were not all bad and the lack of product may have helped what was offered for sale to do well: surprisingly well, in some cases. Here are the top five results from auction sales in 2018.
1: Porsche 959 Dakar – sold for $5,945,000
It’s hard to believe that the ex-1985 Dakar Porsche 959 was the headline auction result for the entire Porsche marque in 2018. This car was one of the first factory Porsche race cars I truly got close to, as it lived at Tuthills when I bought my first 911 and began spending time there. I enjoyed many hours in and around this factory rally car back in the day.
The car was offered at RM Sotheby’s groundbreaking Porsche-only sale at the Porsche Experience Centre in Atlanta. Truly selling to the converted, the Dakar 959 blew pre-auction predictions to pieces and sold for almost twice the low estimate, coming in just under $6 million including premium. A superb result for a factory rally car that failed to finish the Dakar.
pic by Robin Adams ©2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
2: 1958 Porsche 550A – sold for $5,170,000
Porsche 550As dominated the big-money Porsche sales through 2018. With Le Mans competition history including fifth overall and second in class and a class win at the 1958 Nurburgring 1000kms, chassis number 550A-0145 was one of the most desirable examples ever to come up for sale.
Offered by Bonhams at its 2018 Scottsdale sale, the car sold to an American collector for a world record price of $5.17 million including premium.
pic courtesy of Bonhams
3: 1957 Porsche 550A – sold for $4,900,000
Number three on our list of top five Porsche auction sales in 2018 is another 550A, this time from 1957. Chassis number 550A-0116 was offered by RM Sotheby’s at the 2018 Monterey sale and a substantial Californian heritage did it no harm at all.
Leaving the Hollywood heart throbs to one side, Jack McAfee may be the number one name in vintage California Porsche history. McAfee’s Burbank dealership was home to an SCCA-winning 550A and this car was sold through the hallowed doors in February 1957. It was subsequently owned by several big names until a Freisinger restoration in the mid-1990s. The seller is hopefully delighted with a sale result of just under $5 million: within reach of the world record price set by chassis 0145.
pic by Karissa Hosek ©2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
4: Unraced 2007 Porsche RS Spyder – sold for $4,510,000
A fine Porsche RS Spyder race car sold by Goodings at its Pebble Beach sale took full advantage of the model’s exceptional profile in American racing history. RS Spyder 9R6.706 was the last of six carbon-bodied Porsche LMP2 prototypes manufactured for racing in 2007. Supplied new to a race team on the US east coast, the car was subsequently not raced by its Floridian buyers. Instead, it made its way into private hands.
The unraced prototype was one of three RS Spyders owned by the seller and was the first RS Spyder ever to be offered at auction. Few true Porsche rarities have emerged in the 21st century, but there can be no doubt that this is one of them. It sold for $4.51 million including premium.
pic courtesy of Gooding and Company
5: 1955 Porsche 550A – sold for $4,455,000
Last but not least in our run down of top five Porsche auction sales results for 2018 is this 1955 Porsche 550A, sold by Gooding and Company at its 2018 Pebble Beach event.
This 550A had been with its owner for more than twenty years and was offered as part of an impressive collection of highly original sports cars. Chassis 550-0053 was a matching numbers example with plenty of history including a recent visit to four-cam guru, Jeff Adams. Presented in beautifully sympathetic condition, it sold for $4.455 million including premium.
pic courtesy of Gooding and Company
The best of the rest – and what’s to come in 2019
Only a handful of Porsche cars broke the $3 million barrier in 2018 and there was a sizeable gap from the headline sales to the best of the rest. It’s clear that storied race cars pre-1970 remain of interest, including 550s and 718s, and there is also a market for low mileage rare 911s.
What will tickle the market’s fancy in the twelve months to come? There are some trends at work right now that should continue through 2019. The lowest mileage air-cooled road cars – rare ones, mind – are likely set for a safe run this year. Front-engined cars have softened a touch in recent months, but the nicer models are probably also good news.
The lion’s share of what does well this year will hinge on what collectors decide to send to market. It will be interesting to see what happens at this year’s early sales: roll on Amelia Island.